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Could quantum electrodynamics theory be wrong ?


Eldad Eshel
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Could quantum electrodynamics theory be wrong ? Everything about this theory does not fit into shape in my mind. I am no expert on the subject, but maybe a better theory for explaining electromagnetism needs to found. Or is it so well founded and proven ?

For example virtual particles and them being only "in the math". I even read they can go back in time, this seems ridiculous. Also being able to attract particles by sending or "shooting" particles seems very odd to me, seems to defy logic. This also being just "in the math". Another thing is how photons themselves are the quanta of electromagnetic energy.

Electromagnetism works very simply and elegantly, it is odd that such an elaborate and odd theory is needed to describe it. Maybe the universe has basic forces, that are part of it's basic existence, sort of like how the electron is a basic particle.

Edited by Eldad Eshel
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Could quantum electrodynamics theory be wrong ?

 

It could be (because it is science).

 

Everything about this theory does not fit into shape in my mind.

 

It would require evidence to show it is wrong, not just your doubts.

 

Or is it so well founded and proven ?

 

It is one of the best tested theories we have.

 

I even read they can go back in time, this seems ridiculous.

 

That is not quite true. But you finding it ridiculous is irrelevant.

http://philosophy.lander.edu/logic/ignorance.html

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Everything about this theory does not fit into shape in my mind. I am no expert on the subject,

 

You really should become one before assuming that because you don't get it, it's wrong. You should assume that because you don't get it, you need to study it on a deeper level.

 

And that's not really our function here. We can discuss it, but trying to raise your knowledge above a popsci misunderstanding level is really the role of a good school, with formal classes where you can get excellent science coursework.

 

So far, you pose that something may be wrong, and then when shown your error, you insist you're right. I find it hard to follow discussions like these. They seem pointless, asking for answers and rejecting everything mainstream in favor of your own incredulity. This is NOT a healthy learning process, and I don't think you're well served by it.

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You really should become one before assuming that because you don't get it, it's wrong. You should assume that because you don't get it, you need to study it on a deeper level.

 

And that's not really our function here. We can discuss it, but trying to raise your knowledge above a popsci misunderstanding level is really the role of a good school, with formal classes where you can get excellent science coursework.

 

So far, you pose that something may be wrong, and then when shown your error, you insist you're right. I find it hard to follow discussions like these. They seem pointless, asking for answers and rejecting everything mainstream in favor of your own incredulity. This is NOT a healthy learning process, and I don't think you're well served by it.

I want to learn and understand, but I doubt going to school will help me at this, as from what I understand and even mentioned above, it is that almost everything in QED is based on "in the math". It is more of a mathematical theory. They basically got a bunch of math down that seems to work.

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I want to learn and understand, but I doubt going to school will help me at this, as from what I understand and even mentioned above, it is that almost everything in QED is based on "in the math". It is more of a mathematical theory. They basically got a bunch of math down that seems to work.

 

So is there anything specific you think doesn't make sense that we could help with? How can we deal with the fact that you think it's wrong somewhere in the math but you don't know the math?

 

I don't mean disrespect, but this seems like someone who admits he knows nothing about nails taking a quick look at a house, and then telling the architect that he must have used the wrong nails, because the house just doesn't seem right.

 

How about school for math? Has anyone mentioned Khan Academy to you?

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So is there anything specific you think doesn't make sense that we could help with? How can we deal with the fact that you think it's wrong somewhere in the math but you don't know the math?

 

I don't mean disrespect, but this seems like someone who admits he knows nothing about nails taking a quick look at a house, and then telling the architect that he must have used the wrong nails, because the house just doesn't seem right.

 

How about school for math? Has anyone mentioned Khan Academy to you?

Well I was and still am interested in learning physics in the university. And learning physics you also learn math. There is a university in Israel called the Open University, that anyone can get in to, but actually is on a very high level. I already have a year of study there in physics, from a while back. All my documents and grades are too old to get in a regular university like the Tel Aviv University.

I don't see the problem with "a bunch of math [] that seems to work". From my perspective that is pretty much the holy grail of physics.

Well I would also like an understanding, possibly and better a simple one, to go with it, of what it is describing.

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I would like to point out that mathematically there is room for error. Making an equation or set of equations (algorithm) work does not mean that the theory behind them is solid or sound. As previously posted science always has room for being wrong. Its the nature of the business. The math can and is often times wrong and the calculations that are used to describe black holes is a perfect example of math not working properly to describe something that we are 99.9999 % sure exists. It is perfectly logical for the same to be true on the quantum end of the scale. So I believe the answer to your original post is simple. Yes it could be wrong. The difficult question to answer would be where and how. Unless you are willing to dissect the math and point to a possible flaw having this conversation in any greater detail would be an exercise in futility. "wrong" is also a strong word to use. Incomplete may be better. Incomplete is more often times the reason for corrections and modification of accepted theory.

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I want to learn and understand, but I doubt going to school will help me at this, as from what I understand and even mentioned above, it is that almost everything in QED is based on "in the math". It is more of a mathematical theory. They basically got a bunch of math down that seems to work.

It not only works, it works at an insanely precise level. But with regard to it being "math that works", it's no different from the rest of physics. It's not trivial to find the math that agrees with how nature behaves.

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Quantum physics is "not just math".
Math is *result* of observation, by naked eye, which was *first* (recorded event 1894 year, XIX century *).

If you want to see electrons traces, alpha traces, traces leaved by any charged particle, on your naked eyes,
build Cloud Chamber particle detector, like I am repeating to every layman here..
http://www.scienceforums.net/topic/92998-universal-evolutionary-process/page-4#entry900023

http://www.scienceforums.net/topic/92471-the-limits-of-physics/#entry894800

Once you know how something behaves in medium such as air, leaving trace,
you can fill it with f.e. liquid Hydrogen,
and also record traces, of high energy particles, passing through it.
You can suck gas out, and have vacuum, but method of detection of particles must be different.
As they cannot leave visible trace (that could be photographed or filmed) in vacuum.
We had dozen years ago detector, which had 500 or so x-ray cameras, each one was making photo using x-rays, with slightly different delay, with slightly different angle.
X-rays were passing through chamber without interaction with particle, if didn't hit any.
So each charged particle was leaving information where it used to be because of shadow on x-ray photography.

Another thing is how photons themselves are the quanta of electromagnetic energy.


If you have hermetic metal sphere, with internal surface covered by photo detectors,
with vacuum inside,
and you will emit there electron and positron pair,
they will annihilate.
Photo detectors typically will detect just two hits, made by gamma photons from annihilation, on the opposite sides of sphere,
if annihilating electron-positron had no kinetic energy (same frame-of-reference as sphere is in).

*) read history of Cloud Chamber.

Edited by Sensei
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I want to learn and understand, but I doubt going to school will help me at this, as from what I understand and even mentioned above, it is that almost everything in QED is based on "in the math". It is more of a mathematical theory. They basically got a bunch of math down that seems to work.

 

That sounds like exactly the sort of thing that school helps with.

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Phi for All

I don't mean disrespect, but this seems like someone who admits he knows nothing about nails taking a quick look at a house, and then telling the architect that he must have used the wrong nails, because the house just doesn't seem right.

 

Here is some builders' maths I overheard recently.

 

Larger sized nails ( 4" and 6") are packed in alternate directions in the box to save space.

(So the heads and points are alternately at one end then the other)

 

Two builders and their apprentice were fixing some roof timbers here is their conversation.

 

Apprentice "Mick, why are you throwing half the nails away?"

 

Builder1 "Look half the heads are on the wrong end"

 

Builder2 "Don't be thick, they are for the other side of the house"

 

:)

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Could quantum electrodynamics theory be wrong ?

First we know that in the perturbative setting the theory is tested to some huge degree of accuracy. Outside of perturbation theory the theory is not so well tested, nor are the calculational tools as well developed.

 

 

Everything about this theory does not fit into shape in my mind. I am no expert on the subject

You would need to be more specific here with your objections. They maybe founded, maybe not. But as you are no expert I suspect your objections are based on not understanding the theory (or at least how to work with it).

 

, but maybe a better theory for explaining electromagnetism needs to found.

Maybe, but what is your argument here?

 

Or is it so well founded and proven ?

Classically it is very well founded, the perturbabtive quantum theory not so well founded. I will say more in a moment.

 

For example virtual particles and them being only "in the math".

Yes, virtual particles correspond to particular terms in a perturbative expansion.

 

I even read they can go back in time, this seems ridiculous.

This is one way of interpreting particular terms in the theory. I am not sure how seriously this is taken and of course as virtual particles are not directly seen I doubt we should worry about this.

 

Also being able to attract particles by sending or "shooting" particles seems very odd to me, seems to defy logic.

It is strange, and it is an interpretation of the calculations.

 

This also being just "in the math".

This is no different to any other physical theory.

 

Another thing is how photons themselves are the quanta of electromagnetic energy.

Quanta of the electromagnetic field. How are they is 'explained' via perturbative quantum field theory, QED is the first theory to be described in this way. Very informally and loosely, photons are identified with small localised ripples in the electromagnetic field. The methods of quantum field theory show you how to associate particle states with these small ripples.

 

Maybe the universe has basic forces, that are part of it's basic existence, sort of like how the electron is a basic particle.

Now you should look up the standard model of particle physics and general relativity.

 

 

Back to the question of if QED is well founded. The general opinion is that QED as a perturbative theory is not so well founded. The problem is that you need to make a formal series expansion of the theory and in doing so you typically ignore the question of convergence. There is also the question of making sense of the path integration measure. You can make sense of this for very special theories, such as those on Lie groups, but generally and for the case of QED we just don't have a mathematical understanding of the measures. So you just treat it formally along side you formal expansion.

 

There are also some tricks needed to stop infinities appearing in your theory, this is regularisation and renormalisation. There are some mathematically well founded aspects of renormalisation such a the renoremalisation group flow and so on. But in practice physicists apply these tricks to calculate things.

 

And amazingly, with a formal series, a path integral measure that is only formally defined and using renormalisation methods we have some stupidly high degree of agreement between theory and nature! So yes QED should have a better formulation in my opinion, but it works.

 

 

I don't see the problem with "a bunch of math [] that seems to work". From my perspective that is pretty much the holy grail of physics.

Yes, but it leaves people like me bewildered!

 

But then that is why we have people working in mathematical physics and the reason I have a job. :)

Edited by ajb
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  • 1 month later...

Most if not all of the physics that they teach at university could be wrong.

 

For starters, physicists rely too much on mathematics but the truth is that mathematics does not represent reality because mathematics is just a human invention and isn't even a science.

 

The fact is that physicists today behave much more like beaurocrats than truly honest people who are really didicated to finding out the truth.

Edited by seriously disabled
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Most if not all of the physics that they teach at university could be wrong.

 

Obviously. Because science.

 

However, what is taught is, generally, the current best theories; i.e. that which is best support by evidence.

 

For starters, physicists rely too much on mathematics but the truth is that mathematics does not represent reality because mathematics is just a human invention and isn't even a science.

 

Nonsense. The reason that physicist use mathematics is because that is the only way to build quantitatively testable models (which is what science does).

 

And even if mathematics is a human invention (something that philosophers have been arguing about for thousands of years), so what? So is science. So they seem like a good match.

 

The fact is that physicists today behave much more like beaurocrats than truly honest people who are really didicated to finding out the truth.

 

Skipping over the rather obvious fact that science is not about finding The Truth (that is the job of religion, I think) this is just nonsense.

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For starters, physicists rely too much on mathematics but the truth is that mathematics does not represent reality because mathematics is just a human invention and isn't even a science.

What is still amazing to me is that some very high brow and abstract mathematics can have some bearing on the real world through physics.

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Most if not all of the physics that they teach at university could be wrong.

 

For starters, physicists rely too much on mathematics but the truth is that mathematics does not represent reality because mathematics is just a human invention and isn't even a science.

 

The fact is that physicists today behave much more like beaurocrats than truly honest people who are really didicated to finding out the truth.

 

You imagine a caricature of what physicists are like, and then condemn them for it. Reality would be a good tool to use here, as opposed to making shit up and then claiming it's true. I'm very disappointed in this post. It's nothing but bitterness and delusion.

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Most if not all of the physics that they teach at university could be wrong.

 

For starters, physicists rely too much on mathematics but the truth is that mathematics does not represent reality because mathematics is just a human invention and isn't even a science.

 

The fact is that physicists today behave much more like beaurocrats than truly honest people who are really didicated to finding out the truth.

 

Experimental physicists today are f.e. accelerating particles and hit them each other, and detectors around chamber center where they collided are one by one sending signal "we have hit".

Then computer analyze data, time needed to send signal from chamber to detector is measured, its strength, to reproduce where used to be particle that f.e. decayed..

In the past there was used Cloud Chamber, Bubble Chamber, and traces of particle that decayed were visible on photographs, and x-ray photos,

post-100882-0-56391100-1461680177.jpg

How that can be wrong?

 

Build your own particle detector, for 30-50 usd, and you can see whatever physicists in university see.

http://www.scienceforums.net/topic/92998-universal-evolutionary-process/page-4#entry900023

 

http://www.scienceforums.net/topic/92471-the-limits-of-physics/#entry894800

Here you have links to how to build the cheapest one particle detector..

You can have your own photos from your own particle detector this week, just spend 30 usd, instead for beer, build device.

And you will be able to make your own experiments, and see by your own eyes, whether knowledge that you read here, is true or not.

 

You should specify what exactly you think is wrong, and what is not wrong.

Edited by Sensei
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You imagine a caricature of what physicists are like, and then condemn them for it. Reality would be a good tool to use here, as opposed to making shit up and then claiming it's true. I'm very disappointed in this post. It's nothing but bitterness and delusion.

The biggest problem with physics today is that there are too many theories but not enough experiment or observational evidence to determine which of those theories is a more accurate explanation of the world.

 

In order to get an idea of what I'm complaining about please open the Wikipedia template https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:Branches_of_physics.

 

In this Wikipedia template you will see many different branches and theories of physics but there is noway to tell just by reading it which of these branches or theories of physics is more correct or offers a better explanation of reality.

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The biggest problem with physics today is that there are too many theories but not enough experiment or observational evidence to determine which of those theories is a more accurate explanation of the world.

 

If anything, the reverse is true. Large scale projects (such as the LHC) generate so much data that it may take years to analyse it all. This is true of many smaller scale projects as well.

 

 

In this Wikipedia template you will see many different branches and theories of physics but there is noway to tell just by reading it which of these branches or theories of physics is more correct or offers a better explanation of reality.

 

So the biggest problem with physics today is that there is not enough detail on Wikipedia? :eek:

 

Apart from that, I can't see anything on that page that could be described as lacking in evidence. (It doesn't even mention String Theory, which is a common target of this sort of complaint.)

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The biggest problem with physics today is that there are too many theories but not enough experiment or observational evidence to determine which of those theories is a more accurate explanation of the world.

I generally disagree with this. There are many experiments running all the time. For instance we have great evidence that the standard model of particle physics, general relativity and the Lambda CDM model all offer good descriptions of our world. Quantum mechanics has always stood up to the tests made of it, including the very strange aspects. (One has to take in to account the domain of validity etc)

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I generally disagree with this. There are many experiments running all the time. For instance we have great evidence that the standard model of particle physics, general relativity and the Lambda CDM model all offer good descriptions of our world. Quantum mechanics has always stood up to the tests made of it, including the very strange aspects. (One has to take in to account the domain of validity etc)

True but what about other theories of physics like statistical mechanics (both classical and quantum), thermodynamics, chaos theory, dynamical systems etc?

 

Do all these theories have a an equal amount of experimental evidence supporting them like general relativity and quantum mechanics for example?

Edited by seriously disabled
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True but what about other theories of physics like statistical mechanics (both classical and quantum), thermodynamics, chaos theory, dynamical systems etc?

 

Do all these theories have a an equal amount of experimental evidence supporting them like general relativity and quantum mechanics for example?

 

They are all well-tested fields of physics. Keep in mind that different regimes require different physics. For example, you'd never use Newtonian mechanics to describe how electron orbitals behave - you need quantum mechanics for that, because Newtonian mechanics doesn't apply to systems that small. That doesn't mean NM is 'wrong' or 'less tested.'

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They are all well-tested fields of physics. Keep in mind that different regimes require different physics. For example, you'd never use Newtonian mechanics to describe how electron orbitals behave - you need quantum mechanics for that, because Newtonian mechanics doesn't apply to systems that small. That doesn't mean NM is 'wrong' or 'less tested.'

So what evidence is there for statistical mechanics (both classical and quantum statistical mechanics) and chaos theory?

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